Two flu-related deaths in El Paso reported
EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14/CBS4) —
Two El Paso men have died from the flu, health officials said Thursday.
The two men, in their 90s, had underlying medical conditions, said officials.
Both had received the flu vaccine, said Public Health Director Robert Resendes.
“[The flu vaccine] is not 100 percent effective, but it sure helps decrease the intensity of the disease. It will decrease the risk to go to a hospital, going to intensive care units, to get a severe event of the influenza,” said Francisco Gonzalez, lead epidemiologist with the El Paso Public Health Department
Most of the patients suffering from the flu this season are elders and adults older than 25 years old, according to Gonzalez.
There have been 2,181 confirmed flu cases reported in El Paso so far this season, almost seven times greater than the 320 reported at this time last year.
“It’s concerning. That means we have widespread transmission,” said Gonzalez.
“In consideration of the reduced efficacy of this season’s flu vaccine and the high number of flu cases, the CDC is encouraging those with flu symptoms to seek out medical care as soon as possible,” says Resendes. “Those with active influenza are encouraged to forego attending school or work to reduce the spread of the disease.”
This year’s flu season in El Paso has still not officially peaked, meaning hundreds of additional flu cases are still quite possible in the weeks ahead. The Department of Public Health encourages El Paso residents to call 2-1-1 to find a flu vaccine provider. Residents are encouraged to practice the “4 Cs”:
CLEAN - Wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for at least 30 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
COVER – Cover your cough. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t have a tissue? The crook of your elbow will do.
CONTAIN – Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If you do get sick, stay home until you’re well again.
CALL – Call or see your doctor if you or your child has a fever greater than 100 degrees.
Gonzalez adds people should stay home if they’re feeling the symptoms of the flu.
An increase in flu activity has been reported locally and across the nation. Getting an annual flu vaccine not only protects you, but also protects others around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies, young children, elderly, and people with existing medical conditions. The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older, including pregnant women. It takes about two weeks after the vaccination for your body to fully develop protection against the flu.
For more information on the City of El Paso Department of Public Health, call 2-1-1 or visit www.EPHealth.com.